For More Information:

Longleaf Coordinator
Charles Babb
843-623-2187 x3

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Understory Seed Harvesting, November, 2014.

It is officially fall! We have begun harvesting our native understory seed, including wire grass, bluestem, liatris and others. This was the first time using the harvester which was purchased with funds through the NFWF grant we obtained to promote burning and understory habitat. (Watch short video clip of harvester) (Read Article)

The Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge is working with the Sandhills Longleaf Pine Conservation Partnership to restore native longleaf understory.

Refuge Manager Lyne Askins oversees the 46,000 acre property for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Located near McBee, the Refuge contains more than 38,000 acres of longleaf pine. "One of the goals of the Refuge is to demonstrate sound land management of longleaf pine and to share what we learn in our management studies with private landowners who are also restoring and managing longleaf pine," says Askins.

A 97% decline of longleaf has spurred restoration action from many agencies across the southeast. The Partnership is diligently working to restore longleaf here in Chesterfield County.

Partnership coordinator Jimmy Lisenby explained that restoring longleaf includes not only planting the seedlings themselves, but also the understory grasses that dominated longleaf forests in the past. "A traditional longleaf forest had a grass and forb understory which provided habitat for animals such as quail and young turkey."

Lisenby works with USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Charles Babb to write conservation plans establishing understory habitat and longleaf.

"At first, we weren't sure what seed we could actually use for the restoration, because it's not something that's readily available to landowners," explained Babb.

That's where Askins was able to step in. "We have great understory areas on the Refuge," explained Askins. "If we can provide seed to help establish understory on new areas, then it's a win-win situation for longleaf restoration."

Lisenby spent two weeks this fall collecting seed using a specially designed harvester, which can handle the small, light seed. After laboratory analysis, Lisenby will help private landowners use a specially designed planter to seed their own understory areas in 2015.

Both pieces of equipment were purchased using grant funds obtained from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Babb, Askins and Lisenby agreed that the combined efforts of private landowners, the Refuge and the Partnership will take longleaf restoration to another level in Chesterfield County. For more information on:
Partnership: www.chesterfieldswcd.com/longleaf
The Refuge: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Carolina_Sandhills/
USDA-NRCS: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/